New York Knicks Enes Kanter
(Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

David Fizdale’s upstart New York Knicks shock the Grizzlies in Memphis and New York is playing its best basketball of the season.

The Memphis Grizzlies are as advertised. This game was a throwback to 90s basketball as the New York Knicks and the Grizzlies slogged through a defensive battle with David Fizdale’s squad ultimately emerging with the victory.

While much is being made about the youth movement on the Knicks, the veterans led the way to a victory over one of the top teams in the Western Conference — at least by the standings.

The Knicks took control of the game with a 25-5 run in the third quarter. Although the Grizzlies would launch a comeback and turn it into a one-possession game late in the fourth quarter, the Knicks made winning plays late. The biggest statement came from Emmanuel Mudiay when he rose up and threw down a completely unexpected dunk.

Mudiay continued his uplifting play of late with 17 points and four assists. He was instrumental in the victory, but he was not the only veteran to stand out on Sunday night. Enes Kanter was in his element in this rough-and-tumble game. Kanter set a career high with 26 rebounds, which is also the most rebounds by any player in the NBA this season. The Turkish big man added 21 points and three assists for good measure.

Tim Hardaway Jr. struggled with his shot, but he still led the Knicks with 22 points on 6-for-16 from the field. He was a perfect 7-for-7 from the free throw line. His ability to draw contact and get to the charity stripe lately is evidence of his growth as a player. He’s maturing into a gifted scorer and he’s been the first option for Fizdale all season.

But for all the strong play from Hardaway, Mudiay, and Kanter on the offensive end, the Knicks won this game with defensive grit. They held off the Grizzlies when it mattered most and they secured an emotional victory for their head coach in his return to the team that fired him last season.

The Knicks are rolling right now. They’re playing their best basketball of the season and they are showing everyone that tanking was never in the cards this season. It was silly to believe that the Knicks would be competing in the race to the bottom with everything on the line next summer.

The Knicks travel to Detroit to take on Blake Griffin and the Pistons on Tuesday. They’ll look to push the winning streak to four against another potential playoff team.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.